By MELISSA NELSON-GABRIEL
MOBILE, Ala. —
The crippled cruise ship whose sewage-filled breakdown in the Gulf of Mexico subjected thousands to horrendous conditions tore loose Wednesday from the dock where it’s being repaired, lumbered downriver and crunched into a cargo ship.
Wind gusts near hurricane strength shoved the 900-foot Carnival Triumph free from its mooring in downtown Mobile, Ala., where the ship was brought in a five-day ordeal that began when an engine fire stranded it off of Mexico in February. Tug boats were using several mooring lines to secure the ship to a nearby pier, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Bill Colclough.
The violent weather Wednesday also blew a nearby guard shack into the water. One shipyard worker was rescued and crews were searching for another, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said, but the cruise ship’s mishap was unrelated.
An engine fire disabled the Triumph on Feb. 10 and thousands of passengers were disabled for days. Passengers say they endured terrible conditions on board, including food shortages, raw sewage running in corridors and tent cities for sleeping on deck.
Tugs slowly towed the ship into port in Mobile, Ala., where it has remained docked and under repair.
The ship drifted and rested against a cargo vessel. It drifted for a couple of hours before being secured as of 5 p.m., Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said. It is expected to move to the Mobile Cruise Terminal but the timing was unclear.
Coast Guard officials said that as of late in the day, they saw no sign of the missing BAE Systems employee who was knocked into the water with a co-worker when near hurricane-strength winds blew their guard shack over. The other man was rescued.
Colclough said the missing man worked for BAE Systems that runs a ship-repair operation on the Mobile River.